Islamabad: The Italian Ambassador to Pakistan, Andreas Ferrarese said Tuesday that Italy wanted to establish a culture center in Islamabad to further boost bilateral relations between the two countries and let the people of Pakistan have better understanding of Italian culture.
The culture center would be established in the embassy of the country, the construction of which is underway in the diplomatic enclave, he said in an interview.
“I want to open up a cultural centre, maybe in one part of the new embassy, and promote Italian cuisine, art, paintings, music so that the Pakistanis can know more about Italy,” he said while elaborating the motive for establishing the center.
He said that the construction for the new embassy building was underway and his priority task was to supervise the construction process to complete it in stipulated time.
He underlined the importance of promoting cultural connectivity that would also help promote bilateral trade. He said that he would also encourage exchange of students to further strengthen bilateral relations.
The ambassador said that a new economic mission would also be deployed in Pakistan to enhance trade and economic connectivity, saying that there was huge trade potential in different sectors of economy which needed to be exploited.
He said that promotion of bilateral trade between the two countries to its full potential of US $.5 billion annually in the next three years from current US $ 1.7 billion was one of the top priorities of his government.
Replying to a question he said Pakistan exports to Italy were US $.731million during fiscal year 2019-20 while Pakistan’s major exports to Italy included textile, leather, rice, ethanol, including textiles articles, sets, worn clothing, Cotton , apparel, crocheted, Cereals, raw hides and skins, leather, beverages, spirits and vinegar, Plastics, footwear and gaiters.
The ambassador said that during the fiscal year 2019-20, Pakistan’s imports from Italy stood at US $ 521 million and included ships, boats, and other floating structures, machinery, pharmaceutical product, aircraft, spacecraft, electrical, electronic equipment, Organic chemicals, iron and steel, miscellaneous chemical products, optical, photo, technical and medical apparatus.
He said currently, Italy was providing technical assistance in textiles, leather and marble sectors. He said dairy and livestock, olive and olive products, plastics, processed food and construction sector were the areas where Italy could extend its cooperation with Pakistan.
The Pak-Italy Joint Economic Commission was the forum for bilateral economic engagement and was expected to meet in Rome in the last quarter of this year, he said adding Italy was also supporting Pakistan in Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) status in every review by European Union countries.
He said Pakistan had a share of 10 percent of trade with Italy in the whole contribution with EU countries and in future both sides would extend more cooperation in trade and economy.
The ambassador said that Italy had become the largest contributor from the EU in home remittances to Pakistan.